Happy May, all!
So, I took 2 weeks off the day job to both unwind a bit and to get some Act 2 stuff done. Glad to say I rate 10/10 on both those things! Most of the work has gone towards putting the completed artwork in-engine. I am dying to show you guys what it all looks like, but with such a short game I feel like every reveal is a spoiler to some extent.
So instead, here's one big scene, again outside and in the rain:
And here are a few of the others, but super tiny because I'm a tease like that:
The individual bits and bobs of act 2 are almost done (except the character art, but we're kinda waiting till the near end before diving into that too deeply), and the only real challenge that remain is the save system.
I have touched on this before, but to summarise: Act 1 used a simple chapters-as-checkpoints save system, which worked fine because it was entirely linear. Act 2 is not as linear, so this will not work. The trick though is not making a working save system, since that's the easy part - the trick is to make a dynamic save system that LOOKS like it's a simple linear chapters-as-checkpoints save system so that the user experience does not appear to change.
This will get even more tricky in Act 3, because Act 3 contains some procedural content. Oy. Later, later.
My main workstation also suffered a catastrophic hard drive failure last weekend. TME is unharmed though since that is backed up in two places in addition to the source control. Did manage to partially recover the contents of the drive too and didn't lose anything I couldn't tolerate losing. And in the process also got quite cozy with Linux' dumpe2fs and e2fsck commands.
And not related to anything. Someone wrote a good piece on Gamasutra on what it's like to try and do indie on the side while working a day job. You can read it here:http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/242864/Work__Life__Work_Balance_Making_two_games_at_once_and_surviving.php I can relate to a lot of it, and so far this experience has been rather educational.
This is the day one would expect some joke-announcement like "all further development cancelled" or "it's now about pink ponies". But that'd just be mean, and we best leave that to other people.
Still plodding away at Act 2. It's going slowly, but we're getting there and I have booked some crunch-time off the ol' day-job in April to get it done. Most of the asset creation has been completed and the rest is coming together nicely. The music too is sounding dang smooth. In fact, my greatest worry about Act 2 is that it's all just so much better than Act 1 and people will feel it's out of place. I like how it has evolved though and would love to go back and do a bit of reduxing of Act 1 eventually.
Another day, another alley. Below is a quick work-in-progress shot showing what the artwork looks like vs. what it looks like in-game with the weather added. This particular scene is also camera mapped to geometry so that the perspective is real. In motion the effect is quite subtle so as to not stick out too much from the plain 2d stuff, but it allows for proper reflective surfaces and casting light on surfaces in a semi-realistic manner.
Just a quick update:
The Maker's Eden is going at a 75% discount on Steam for another 22-ish hours at the time of writing this. Good opportunity to grab it on the cheap! You can also get it in the Groupees "Does time really exist?" bundle for another week - some great music included in that one.
Act 2 Music - A teaser
Ben's been busy, and we're happy to share a near-final iteration of the opening theme for Act 2. Give it a listen here: https://soundcloud.com/abstraction/the-makers-eden-act-2-intro-theme
The original plan was to get all 3 acts done before localising. But more and more people have been asking for German, Spanish, Russian etc. We're trying to figure out at the moment how we could get this done at good enough quality with our mighty budget of $0. We stumbled upon a Russian fan-translation and have offered some assistance to them. We'll include that one in the main game, but it'll be clearly marked as a fan-translation. For all the others - working on it!
And now for something completely different! :)
This week, Telltale announced that they'd be doing an officially licensed Minecraft tie-in game titled "Minecraft: Story Mode". Responses were mostly positive, but there were a few that equated to "Huh? How would that even work?".
Good news - this is an easy question to answer, because we've done it before!
Around 2 years ago we made a little gag game in AGS called "Steve Quest". The graphics and world are all lifted from Minecraft, but tells a story in the style of a Sierra adventure game.
The game was kinda rubbish, mostly intentionally so, but it serves as a great case study. The world of Minecraft has no set lore or canonical fiction to draw from, no pantheon of named characters, and every Minecraft world differs from the next. It's a mechanically rich game though, and this is enough to build a story out of. Imagine you are hovering about a multiplayer server, watching players go about whatever they do in-game - gathering, hunting, crafting, building - and then imagine that the avatars are completely unaware of the existence of the real world. At this point the stories write themselves. For a more comprehensive example of how this works in practice, have a look at SamCube's WonderCraft, or heck, watch The LEGO Movie.
Our Steve Quest took a few liberties with the world, but mostly assumes that the world is mechanically the same as it is in actual Minecraft. I believe as long as Telltale's game assumes the same, any story they tell from that will be an authentic Minecraft story.
Steve Quest can still be found at http://screwylightbulb.com/stevequest/ - Windows only for the moment, which reminds me; now that AGS can be compiled so well for Linux, we should really add some binaries! :)
A full playthough can be viewed here:
Also, dear Telltale: Maybe this is a good time to start supporting Linux? (and mayhaps also for Tales from the Borderlands)